Menagerie by Rachel Vincent

Menagerie (Menagerie, #1)

by Rachel Vincent

From New York Times bestselling author Rachel Vincent comes a richly imagined, provocative new series set in the dark mythology of the Menagerie...

When Delilah Marlow visits a famous traveling carnival, Metzger's Menagerie, she is an ordinary woman in a not-quite-ordinary world. But under the macabre circus black-top, she discovers a fierce, sharp-clawed creature lurking just beneath her human veneer. Captured and put on exhibition, Delilah in her black swan burlesque costume is stripped of her worldly possessions, including her own name, as she's forced to "perform" in town after town.

But there is breathtaking beauty behind the seamy and grotesque reality of the carnival. Gallagher, her handler, is as kind as he is cryptic and strong. The other "attractions"-mermaids, minotaurs, gryphons and kelpies-are strange, yes, but they share a bond forged by the brutal realities of captivity. And as Delilah struggles for her freedom, and for her fellow menagerie, she'll discover a strength and a purpose she never knew existed.

Renowned author Rachel Vincent weaves an intoxicating blend of carnival magic and startling humanity in this intricately woven and powerful tale.

"Blood Bound offers a little something for everyone: a convincing magical system for urban fantasy fans; for romance readers, a love that time and distance can't break; and a twist-and-turn plot for mystery buffs. Readers looking for a light and fluffy ride should go elsewhere."

-Shelf Awareness

Reviewed by Melanie on

5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

My review and an extended sample of the audiobook are posted at

I went into this book knowing as little as possible about this book. I had heard around about how dark the book was. I had even seen the author tweet that people were writing DNF finish reviews because the book was so dark. This only got me more excited to read (or in this case listen) to the book. I’m a big fan of dark stories mixed in with my humor and snarky stories. I like the variety. I could see where people who are fans of Ms. Vincent’s YA books might shy away from this book. It is dark. However, I read her Unbound series, which was a darker paranormal mafia series, so I knew she could write darker stories. She really took it up a notch with this one.

The main character in this book is Deliah. She was raised with a human family. She got all the comforts of human living, schools, food, shelter, etc. Next thing she knows, she is accused of being a Cryptid. She is taken into custody and sold to Metzger’s Menagerie. A Cryptid is anything that is not fully human or any animal that is not found in nature. For example, a tigon, is a cross between a lion and tiger, which shouldn’t be found in nature, is possible, so is not a Cryptid. An animal like a centaur, cross between a human and horse, not possible in nature, so therefore a Cryptid. There are also Cryptids that looks just like humans, oracles, succubi and shifters when in human form.

Several years ago, in the 1980’s there was the “reaping”. Cryptids attacked and killed many humans. So now, humans see nothing wrong with keeping them in cages and treating them as lesser beings. They are chained, drugged and demeaned constantly. They aren’t fed as they should be. Anything to keep their will down. There is a lot of torture and neglect that goes on. This is the part that many may have a hard time reading.

This book will evoke a lot of emotions. It will make you think about how people have treated other people throughout history, and even how animals have been treated. I found myself really being pulled into this story and wanting to know more about this world. There isn’t a ton of action, but a lot of worldbuilding and character-building. I wouldn’t say that there is a cliffhanger ending, but it does leave you wanting more with the ending.

When I first requested this book on audio, I didn’t recognize the narrator’s name. Once I started listening, I recognized her voice. I looked her up. She narrated Rachel Vincent’s Unbound Series (the paranormal mafia series I mentioned above), which I enjoyed on audio. She does a great job with the different voices and tones. Such a dark story needs a special kind of narrator and Gabra Zackman really nails.

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 13 March, 2017: Finished reading
  • 13 March, 2017: Reviewed
  • Started reading
  • Finished reading
  • 13 March, 2017: Reviewed